Thursday, September 24, 2020

The drumbeat of juicy epithets

Madam Józefina Przełęska had woken up on the wrong side of the bed that morning. By ten o'clock, this fact had become a universally acknowledged axiom in the kitchen. By eleven, the entire apartment had broken out in such pandemonium and hullabaloo it was as if there was not just one wrong side of the bed but at least two. 

By noon, the noble residence of Madam Przełęska was pitiful scene of chaos and panic, where august antiques fought wildly in single combat, moving from place to place until, amidst unrelenting skirmishes, they were cut down with the heat of battle and remined motionless, their fashionably spindly legs sticking straight up into the air. Amidst stampeding servants, the lady of the house galloped through the apartment like a Valkyrie on the warpath. Before her resounded the drumbeat of juicy epithets, behind her billowed the flounces of her dressing gown like a burnoose sweeping over the rubble.

The vacuum cleaner growled in the sitting room, salvos of carpets being beaten reverberated in the courtyard, here the windows were thrown open because this stifling air was simply unbearable, there the windows were slammed shut because these drafts could blow your head right off.

On top of everything, the telephone rang without stopping, and the hailstorm of words pelting the mouthpiece slashed the air like a whip.

It was that very moment the doorbell sounded in the hall. It was the last straw. Madam Przełęska pivoted and darted over to answer the door personally, much to the horror of her servants, who, in their hearts, had already entrusted the welfare of this unfortunate guest to the mercy of God.

— from The Career of Nicodemus Dyzma, by Tadeusz Dołęga-Mostowicz.

No comments: